Women in Construction
2018 is the year of the woman so we are celebrating the women that work in the construction sites across Wembley Park.
One key member of staff working behind the scenes to help turn Wembley Park into a vibrant emerging cultural district is Mary Kelly-Mannion, Head of Procurement for Quintain, the developer behind the ongoing redevelopment of the area surrounding the National Stadium.
Mary graduated from University College Galway after studying Civil Engineering, before moving to England and working for Laing as a Graduate Civil Engineer. She joined Quintain two years ago and her role is incredibly varied, covering cost management of the development and procurement of key suppliers across Wembley Park. Suppliers are chosen due to the high quality of their goods and services, and one example is Moores Kitchens, who provides kitchens for the new homes being built across site.
The construction industry can be seen as a predominately male sector, and this is a perception that Mary wants to change. She is actively involved in organising and participating in events that champion women throughout the industry:
“We set up ‘Women in Property and Construction’, which is a networking group that consists of women in Quintain, as well as our consultants and key suppliers, including the four contractors that make-up Wembley Park’s framework of contractors; McAleer & Rushe, McLaren, Sisk and Wates.”
Mary is not alone at Wembley Park in promoting women in construction, as can be seen in the recent ‘Let’s Celebrate Women’ event that was held on International Women’s Day in the Yellow Pavilion, Wembley Park’s dedicated community space.
Organised by Halah Metwally, Quintain’s Community Engagement Assistant, the event celebrated women from different backgrounds. Panelists, including Mary’s colleague and Quintain’s Procurement Manager Mugove Edwards, took on various topics such as “inspiring women” and “challenges women face today”. There was also a ‘Table of Awareness’, which included information on women in construction provided by Wates and McLaren, along with arts, crafts, dance and poetry.
According to Halah “it was a fantastic evening full of laughter and tears as we shared journeys from all types of women, from those in construction to women in care. It was truly inspiring and rewarding.”
One element that Mary is particularly proud of is how active the contractors are across site in celebrating the exemplary women that work across Wembley Park.
“I was lucky enough to attend the ‘Women in Construction and Engineering Awards’ last May, and was so thrilled to see not one, but two of our consultants shortlisted; Clare Tribe from Wates for Best Woman Contractor and Zhe (Sophie) de Montalembert from Stace for Best Young Woman in Construction.”
Another woman who champions the industry and works at Wembley Park is Emily Exford, Site Engineer for McLaren. She started on site in August 2016, and decided on her career in construction in part due to family influences but also due to an interest in maths.
“If I could offer any advice to women thinking of having a career in construction I would say do it! Engineering is a fun job because it is engaging and exciting and different every day.”
It is not just Emily’s love of engineering that makes her job so enjoyable though, but Wembley Park itself:
“Wembley Park is exciting, eventful and expanding. I love the fact that I am not stuck at a desk all day. I can take a technical drawing from the office and then go on to site and see it being built.”
This attitude is echoed by Mary, whose love of the job comes from how tangible it is:
“You get to see the end result, there is no ambiguity – you’re constructing not only a building, but a community. I get to see the positive impact of what we’re doing, turning a brownfield site into a place to live whilst making the whole area come alive